‘Oh My God, The Universe Is Collapsing!’: Bernie Snark Bombs GOP Sens. Holding Up Stimulus Over Extra Unemployment Benefits
In a scathing floor speech dripping with sarcasm, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tore into a few of his Republican colleagues who have publicly objected to the negotiated coronavirus stimulus bill because it provides an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits.
As the massive $2 trillion relief package came up for debate on Wednesday night, Sanders fired one snarky salvo after another at Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who threatened to block the bill out of concern that some laid-off workers might briefly end up making more in unemployment than at their previous jobs. (Graham has since said he would still vote for the coronavirus stimulus bill.)
Sanders, in his barn-burning speech, had zero patience for this selective, fiscal scrutiny of minimum and low-wage workers in a bill that simultaneously dedicates half a trillion dollars in bailout funds to large corporations.
“Some economists are estimating by June, the end of next quarter, unemployment could be 20 percent, 30 percent. What this bill does say is whether or not you are eligible for unemployment today, you’re going to get employment compensation,” Sanders explained. “The other thing that this bill does, which is right, is it says ‘OK we are in the midst of a horrific crisis, unprecedented in modern American history. So, not only are you going to get your regular unemployment benefit, we’re going to add another $600 a week to it.”
“And now I find that some of my Republican colleagues are very distressed, they’re very upset that somebody who is making $10, $12 an hour might end up with a paycheck for four months more than they received last week,” Sanders said, waving his hands in mock outrage and dialing the snark up to 11.
“Oh, my God, the universe is collapsing. Imagine that!” he cried. “Somebody is making 12 bucks an hour, now, like the rest of us. faces an unprecedented economic crisis with the 600 bucks on top of their normal, regular unemployment check might be making a few bucks more for four months. Oh, my word, will the universe survive?!”
“How absurd and wrong is that? What kind of value system is that?” he added, noting that these same senators voted to for President Donald Trump’s massive tax cuts in 2017. “But when it comes to low-income workers in the midst of a terrible crisis, maybe some of them earning or having more money than they previously made. Oh, my word, we’ve got to strip that out!”
“Some of my Republican friends still haven’t given up on the need to punish the poor and working people,” he continued, spitting fire. “You haven’t raised the minimum wage in 10 years! Minimum wage should be at least 15 bucks an hour. You haven’t done that. You’ve cut program after program after program and now horror of horrors, for four months, workers might be earning a few bucks more than they otherwise went.”
Watch the video above, via C-SPAN2.
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